Thursday, August 28, 2014

Localy GROW and have fun. Right the Wrong of Poverty.

The mother plants as babies.
I grew them myself above are the plant that produced tomatoes in this photo.  Alida cared for the plants while I vacationed for thirteen day.
More of your of  hard earned money stays in your community when you shop local.  Less fuel is wasted when you buy from people you know and trust.  The food you eat will be fresher and much m healthier.   We had a wonderful day at the market and thought we would share it with you.  Supporting local farmers has enriched my life in so many ways.  Shopping at the growers markets brings laughter, wisdom, friendships and of course deliciousness into my life.   My friends ask me why my food tastes so good. My answer is always the same, "start with a good product".  It is understandable that some foods don't occur in certain areas.  Seafood for example can't be found in my desert state.  It can be obtained from a local retailer that brings it in from sustainable sources and will also catch his own.  And when buying goods like chocolate, coffee look for products that are fair trade, this ensures that your food producer is getting a fair deal.  It locally help end world hunger. Don't forget don't waste food share it.
Jasmine at the growers market.
Josie from Montoya Farms with Kathy(me)
Red chile pods soaking and fresh picked verdolagas perslane.
Kalen enjoying fresh watermelon at one of our meetings.
Patricia, Kathy and Alida presenting a feast made with local ingredients at our International Woman's Day event,.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Save Food, Save Money End Hunger.

Cleaning dried red chile pods from last season.
Also in the photo are purslane aka verdolagas
an edible weed


        Oxfam founded in 1942. Began as the “Oxford Committee for Famine Relief”.  Groups of people gathered parcels of food and clothing for families whose lives had been devastated by World War II.  Currently Oxfam has programs in over seventy countries. 

    More than 2.5 billion live in poverty and are struggling to survive and go to bed hungry every night.  Small changes in our daily lives can have an enormous impact on global level.  Fighting hunger can start in you kitchen with help from Oxfam’s GROW method. Oxfam’s GROW method offers five simple ways to make a big impact on ending global hunger. The five ways are, don’t waste food save it, eat food that is seasonal, eat local, and skip meat once a week.
Approximate months of storage at 0°F
 Fruits and Vegetables
8 - 12
6 - 9
3 - 6
Ground Meat
3 - 4
Cured or Processed Meat
1 - 2

One big yet simple way to impact hunger is to stop wasting food.  Throwing away food negatively impacts the earth and every living being on it.
    According to the United States department of agriculture the average family produces about 1,800 pounds of emissions 'from food waste. Individuals contribute 440 pounds per year.  Typical cars emit 9,000 pounds per year.  The study did not include waste produced from restaurants and energy used in prepackaged foods.

     Throwing away food squanders energy, time and money. According to the National Institute of Health wasted food cost the average household six hundred dollars a year. That adds up to a lot of thrown out bread.  Most people would never dream of reaching in their pockets finding a five dollar bill and putting it in the trash. Yet, they think nothing of throwing out old bread or over ripe bananas.  Those bananas can be made into a smoothie, and the wilted vegetables can be put into soup or stew.  Fresh herbs and mushrooms can be dried stored and used later.  Dried mushrooms and parsley are wonderful in a soup or in omelets.

      Food is a financial investment on many levels.  The economics starts at the farm, goes to transportation, processing, continues with you at the grocery store and ends at your table.

     Many foods can be frozen for several months, even years in a deep freeze. From my own experience the forgotten halibut tasted great and more importantly did not make me ill after three years.
    The National Center for Home Food Preservation has helpful information for storing and freezing food.   The storage times listed below are approximate months of storage for some food products. The food needs to prepared and packaged correctly and stored in the freezer at or below 0°F. After these times, the food will still be safe, just lower in quality and flavor.   The National Center for Home Food Preservation has numerous ideas on properly preserving foods.      
Very ripe tomatoes, peppers and eggplant for sauce.  Eggplant helps thicken the sauce
Green chile can last in the freezer for months.  Some say it gets hotter with age.
The sauce made from the scratch and dent produce, yummy. Great on pasta, greens, bread, and just about anything.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Barking News Oxfam Day of Action July 8th Big Success.

Meet Guapo.  He is Oxfam Action Corps barking news breaker and noise maker.  On July 8th he became New Mexico Oxfam's Dog of the day.  Oxfam's day of action for the Behind The Brands campaign. On that day all fifteen cities action corps teams from New York to Seattle made noise calling for big food companies to help stop climate change by implementing clean and efficient food production methods. On this particular day we were targeting Kellogg's and General Mills.  Here in Albuquerque Guapo helped us make noise. He smile for the camera being a good sport with boundless energy. Drawing the line only in refusing to were a costume, he prefers to play himself leaving all the dressing up to his humans.  He seems to have truly enjoyed making a big noise to help and climate change. 
Smiling for the camera.

The original caption read "I smell Climate Change"  He was after a treat in my hand you can see me on the left.

We were on our way to a hike when I snapped the one of him in the car.  When he heard the click of the camera he reached of  a treat.  Which made us laugh. At the end of the day he chilled. Speaking of treats, Guapo did not eat any cereal.  It is bad for his teeth.
He is more excited about going for a ride and his pending hike then photos.

Digging for treats. No cereal for him.

Guapo chilling after the photo shoot.  He was not harmed in any way.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Oxfam Action Corps Storming the Nation Against Climate Change.

Worst or funniest selfie ever? 
Hit the shelves take selfies post them to General Mills and Kellogg's with #Behindthebrands

Climate Change is something to Growl about. 
Get your Growl on go to www.Oxfambehindthebrands to learn more.
Oxfam NM at our very own General Mills plant.
This was taken at a local hangout'. "YO Dog tell Kellogg's and General Mills to end Climate Change."

You better change your climate changing ways.

New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps volunteers along with Oxfam Action Corps Volunteers all across the country hit the grocery stores, cereal plants.   special sites unique to Albuquerque. We are urging Kellogg's and General Mills to clean up and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their food supply chain.  Greenhouse gasses from food production and distribution are a huge contributor to Climate Change. It may be the largest and worst contributor to global poverty and hunger, threatening everyone's place at the table.  We have been posting pictures on social media.  Albuquerque has 213 tweets so far.  Join in on the fun! Tweet and Facebook pictures of your friends and family.  Selfies are a lot of fun. Post your pictures onto www.Kellogg' and and tag on Facebook and if you tweet that would be even sweeter. 

We are not hiding our message don't let climate change blow everything up.     

    Give us a hand in telling Kellogg's and General Mills to end Climate Change.
We don't want to end up upside down on Climate Change. 
Selfies to end Climate Change.
 Where will you sit? Tell Kellogg's and General Mills.  Climate Change is not welcome at your table. www.behindthebrands Oxfam America. Every thing GROWs better without climate Change.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hunger Banquet at Alvarado Elementary

Children are the future of the world--the values and habits taught to them not only reflect their future, but also our future for the overall well-being of the world. As leaders with the New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps, we recently had the pleasure of hosting a hunger banquet in Ms. Kali Beckman’s fifth grade class at Alvarado Elementary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ms. Beckman attended our World Food Day dinner in October and felt an Oxfam Hunger Banquet would be a perfect activity to enhance their poverty and justice unit. Our job was simplified by the fact that the students were already well-versed on Oxfam when we arrived. 

After introductions we explained to the class that they represented the entire world. (One young man made us laugh when he announced he wanted to be Asia.) We instructed students to count off and sit or stand to practice fractions and show statistics in a meaningful way. For the first one, students counted off one through seven and all the sixes sat down to show how one in every seven people go to bed hungry. Next students visualized how 1 in 3 women can't read or write, 1 in 6 people don't have access to clean drinking water, and 1 in 2 people live on less than 2 US dollars a day.

When we started the Hunger Banquet the excitement was palpable. The students were thrilled to portray children from all over the world. Each student received their card at random and were asked to read it and introduce themselves to a neighbor. 

After, we had the lower class move to the floor, the middle class to the chairs, and the upper class to the banquet table. We mentioned that everyone drew their lots at random, just as we are born at random into a certain environment and income level.

We began the simulation by explaining what it looks like to live in each class, and how the majority of the people were on the floor. We went around asking how everyone felt and whether the distribution was fair. We then asked one student from the middle class to move to the lower class because his family's farm lost their crops due to drought and scorching temperatures. He looked worried, and the remaining middle class students expressed their fear of losing their status as well. This brought up the reality of how vulnerable the middle class can be and helped prompt the discussion of issues that negatively impact people such as medical bills, natural disasters, or unemployment. 

Next two children from the lower class moved up to middle class because they earned scholarships for working hard at home and getting good grades in school. They were delighted for the opportunity to move up, and the welcomed with smiles into the middle class. We pointed out that education is an extremely powerful tool to empowerment and moving up in income level and stability.

At that point, we distributed food. The middle class were servers who first gave the upper class bags with more mandarins, candy, and pretzels than they could possibly eat. Then they served themselves medium sized snack bags, and finally gave the low income group bags with one pretzel each.

Once they were eating their food we demonstrated food waste by asking the upper and middle class to throw some of their food into a bucket that represented a trash can. Everyone engaged in conversation about what wasting food means and the global impact. Some students admitted they were picky and threw away food at home, another felt indignant enough to exclaim that it wasn't fair the upper income group threw away food while they only received one pretzel. However, the discussion really heated up when we asked the students to decide how the "wasted" food in the bucket should be redistributed. Before students related to the characters they played and expressed their feelings, but everyone became much more invested in the discussion when they realized they were deciding their fate.

The arguments and suggestions mirrored those adults and politicians are proposing all over the world. After a lengthy discussion, the class agreed that the lower income students would be allowed to take food first followed by the middle class. The upper income level were not allowed to take more food, and some of the middle class decided to donate food to the lower class.

Last, they broke into groups and worked on projects to improve their school or neighborhood. We told the class how it was wonderful watching them problem-solve and explained the basics of organizing. We made a point that today they demonstrated what Oxfam's work is all about, especially the importance of asking people to discuss and decide what they want and how to get there, rather than imposing beliefs and solutions on others.

The day closed with everyone talking about what they will remember most. One boy was impressed that Oxfam teaches people about organizing and how to overcome the injustice of poverty. One of the girls said she will never forget that one in three women will never have the opportunity to attend school.

What I will never forget is the insight and awareness of Ms. Beckman's class, and what it really means that people all over the world stand on common ground.

Thank you to Ms. Kali Beckman, her wonderful fifth grade class, and to Brook Sinclair and the San Francisco Oxfam Action Corps for letting us adapt and pilot their classroom Hunger Banquet materials. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Oxfam New Year!

By Kathy Chavez

January 31st 2014 will mark the Year of the Wood Horse, a year of great energy and power. The wood horse will want room to run, so dream big. Set goals worthy of a powerful steed and ride your way to success! What are your goals for this year? According to the official web site, the top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2014 are:

1.               Lose Weight
2.               Volunteer
3.               Quit Smoking
4.               Get a Better Education
5.               Get a Better Job
6.               Save Money
7.               Get Fit
8.               Eat Healthy Food
9.               Manage Stress
10.           Manage Debt           

Follow Oxfam’s GROW Method to keep your New Year's resolutions and decrease world hunger. Tackle goal number one for most Americans by eating healthier and instituting Meatless Mondays. There's a common thread in all the "Best Diets" listed in U.S. News & World Reportless meat. Meat-reduced and whole foods programs are leading the way with the most well-balanced diet plans. Even eliminating meat for just one day a week greatly improves your overall health. 

The National Cancer Institute's study of 500,000 people found that those who ate 4 ounces of red meat or more daily were 30 percent more likely to die during a 10-year period than were those who consumed less. Eating processed meats also increased the risk of death from heart disease and other factors. Plus, feel a sense of history and patriotism while participating in Meatless Mondays. The idea originated in World War I when the U.S. Food Administration urged families to practice “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday” to do their part and aid the war effort. Recently the Meatless Monday movement has picked up steam, and become popular on a global scale

Volunteering is number two on the list, and if you're considering a positive change of pace, join Oxfam to meet this goal.  Even if you're more focused on the job hunt, remember that volunteering can build up your resume while expanding your horizons, helping to land the perfect job.  Look on for volunteer opportunities and possibly some travel opportunities as well. 

Volunteering is also good for your mental and physical help, according to Harvard studies. Volunteering keeps people more connected, warding off loneliness and depression. There is also evidence suggesting that people who give their time to others may be rewarded with lower blood pressure, overall better health, and a longer life span.

Other GROW-friendly life changes can tackle most of the top ten goals. Get fit, burn calories, and save money by riding a bike or walking whenever possible. Eat healthy and support local farmers by eating fruits and vegetables that are in season. Incorporating a few simple energy and calorie saving habits into your lifestyle will benefit the planet and your overall health. It will also save money on gas and food, thereby helping to manage debt.

Have a healthy, happy, and galloping-good New Year from your Oxfam Action Corps! For more information contact us at or go to